Disclaimer: In exchange for writing a review about Tauranac Press, I received an assortment of books and maps.
In celebration of the 111th anniversary of the New York subway, on October 27th, I attended a subway map discussion at The Cooper Union. That was in fact, a follow-up to the 1978 subway map debate, also held at The Cooper Union…though that one was before my time.
Among the speakers attending last week’s event was John Tauranac, author, NYU professor, one-time MTA (Metropolitan Transportation Authority) chair of the Subway Map Committee, and prolific cartographer. You can thank him for the geographic style and appearance of transfer stations, among other designs visible on current MTA maps. Wouldn’t that be something if the 2nd Ave. subway line – the “T,” due to open next year…we’ll see about that – was named to honor him? If you read this article about subway line nomenclature, then you’ll know I’m being obsequious.
I briefly spoke with Mr. Tauranac before the program began, and told him that my family has enjoyed his Manhattan Block by Block series of books since the First Edition, printed in 2000. Partially as a result of our conversation, he generously mailed me some maps.
In just a few photos, let’s see how that first print of Manhattan Block by Block and its 2015 edition compare:
The well-used one on the left is the 2000 version. Judging by the graphic on the older edition, I’d say it’s centered on Bryant Park (and the “book”-shaped construct next to it happens to be the main branch of the NY Public Library. Convenient.).
Since 2000, I’ve (somewhat) grown up, and Manhattan has hatched at least one new neighborhood: Hudson Yards. If I had to quibble about anything, it’s that Little Italy should probably be half that size, with Chinatown expanding ad nauseum, and 5th Ave. in the 50s could be renamed – much to one’s chagrin – Chinatown Part Two.
US$1.50 for a swipe, and tokens still in use…and now we only have the beleaguered MetroCard. Please tell me why I can’t use the unlimited on PATH. Oh, that’s a story for another day.
This street numbering page wasn’t in the 2000 book, but I think it started being present in the 2004 one. I should make a photocopy for my wallet. And so. Should. You. No need to rely on phone service/internet to find your way…not to mention, marking up paper – no pun this time – is much more satisfying than on a phone.)
But I wanted to take the V train.
Oh wait, this may assist you in figuring out…
A sample page from the 2015 book. We’ve got subway lines, bus lines, hotels in boldfaced red, factoids in quotes, sculptures and statues identified by a red dot, and other points of interest represented in bold. Lots of stuff highlighted in these pages, but still quite easy to read.
I admire Mr. Tauranac’s decades-long dedication to trying to improve traveling around the city, and Manhattan in particular. If you do too, why not see what else Tauranac Press has in store.